Despite heavy rains three weeks ago, Molokai farmers are concerned that the summer may bring continued drought and adverse effects for agriculture. That concern motivated Molokai Irrigation System (MIS) board members to vote in favor of an emergency drought declaration for Maui County, which could bring government assistance.
Department of Agriculture (DOA) officials have filed the request for Gov. Abercrombie’s approval, and expect a response within a month to six weeks, according to DOA Chairperson Russell Kokobun, via video chat at last week’s MIS meeting. If the governor does declare a state of emergency for Maui County, the agricultural community may be able to access low-interest emergency loans if funds are available, according to the DOA’s Randy Teruya.…
By Glenn I. Teves, County Extension Agent, UH CTAHR
We’ve been in a drought for several years now. The dry winter into early spring was worrisome until last week’s storm brought welcome relief. But rains don’t always alleviate a dropping reservoir unless it arrives in moderate, not heavy amounts, and drops into Waikolu Valley. This storm resulted in heavy runoff and washed precious soil into the ocean. The water will be muddy until the dirt settles on the bottom and that’s not good. The drought had already left its mark.
Everything is connected. A less-than-average flow of artesian water percolating along the coast can adversely affect the fisheries habitat, resulting in a lower than average hatching of fingerlings or pua.…
With water levels in the Kualapu`u Reservoir reaching concerning levels and little seasonal rain in sight, members of the Molokai Irrigation System (MIS), which serves the bulk of the island’s agricultural and homestead users, are starting to prepare for the worst.
At this time last year, the reservoir held 18 feet of water. Currently, however, the water level is hovering around 10 feet.
Representatives of the six major commercial users of the MIS came to the MIS board meeting last week with some serious concerns: they want to begin preparations for a possible drought crisis in the coming months.
“We are extremely concerned about current reservoir levels and worried about extreme emergency conditions over summer,” said Ray Foster, general manager for Monsanto Molokai.…